1 in 3 women over the age of 50 suffer from a bone fracture in their lifetime. Bone fractures are worth our attention as osteoporosis results in a decreased quality of life and shorter life-span. You do not have to wait until symptoms occur in your menopause years to take care of your bones. There are many things you can do to build strong bones when you are in your 30s and 40s, to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis in your menopausal years.
When do we start losing bones?
Our bones are living tissues that are constantly being replaced, removed by the body, and rebuilt again. This dynamic process is well balance when we are young and healthy. We tend to build bones when we are young, 90% of our adult bone content is accumulated by age 19, the remainder of it by age 30. In our 40s, our bones start to be removed faster than formation. Menopause may cause bone loss to speed up, causing serious thinning of our bones, leading to osteoporosis.
While you cannot regain peak bone mass, you can slow down the process of bone loss by developing good habits in your 30s to promote strong bones.
The TCM Explanation to Bone Loss – The Kidneys are in Charge
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach to tackle bone loss is by working on the source of poor bone health. TCM believes the growth, development and repair of our bones are closely influenced by the kidneys. It is in the kidneys that the bone’s marrow is developed. The kidney system is also the system that promotes the flow of Qi (vital energy) throughout the body.
A weakness in the kidney system corresponds to weakened bone health and lower mineral density in the bones. As you age, your kidneys naturally become weaker and burdened with toxins. Beginning from 50 years of age, women start to experience a huge decline in bone mineral density.
The second underlying cause for poor bone health is blood stasis. According to TCM, poor Qi and blood circulation can increase osteoporosis and bone fractures.
How to Prevent Extensive Bone Loss in Your 30s and 40s
Moving and Weight Bearing Exercises
Exercise is one of the best medicine for your bones. In Chinese Medicine, exercise promotes blood circulation and removes the stagnancy of blood and Qi, and supports the body to produce new bones. The modern advice of physical activity and weight bearing exercises help new bone tissue to form and bones to stay strong. Put good stress on your bones with lifting weights, hiking, running and HIIT trainings (low impact HIIT if you have bad knees).
Chinese Tonic Herbs
Nourish the Qi of the kidneys with Cornus Fruit (Shan Zhu Yu) and Shisandra Fuit (Wu Wei Zi). If you need to keep the nourishment convenient, tonic soups are one of the best ways. We recommend the Rehmannia Eight Treasure Soup (Ba Zhen Tang) and Six Combination Soup (Lok Mei Soup) to tonify the Kidney system, Qi and blood.
Watch Your Calcium Intake
The recommended daily dose of calcium you need is between 900 to 1,000 milligrams. Aside from milk or dairy products, include more dark leafy vegetables in your food intake. If your diet does not give you enough calcium, make sure you supplement your calcium intake. Live2Move with AlgaeCal, is one of the best absorbed by your body. It is made from certified organic Algas Calcareas, this plant-based calcium and mineral supplement is also research-proven to support increased bone density.
Get Enough Vitamin D
You can have enough calcium intake, but if you are deficient in Vitamin D, your body may not be able to absorb the calcium. It is difficult to get enough Vitamin D from food alone. Expose yourself to sunlight 10 to 30 minutes a day to get your healthy dose of Vitamin D. You can read more about Vitamin D sources in our Vitamin D article.
Cut Down on Soft Drinks and Quit Smoking
Some studies have shown that phosphorus in soft drinks may lead to lower bone density. Smoking is not just bad for your health, it also reduces the level of estrogen in your body, which leads to faster bone loss and earlier onset of osteoporosis.